So we start this dialogue with the assumption that everyone already properly knows that today we are supposed to be remembering the sacrifice our military makes for our... for our...
Um... yeah, that part hasn't exactly been beaten like a dead horse like the rest of the narrative surrounding Memorial Day. At least not on Memorial Day. So why exactly do we consider this day special?
You see, a sacrifice in and of itself is not a reason for celebration. Sometimes, people's sacrifices come from such impure motivations or just to show off, that we dare not applaud them in any way.
This has been ingrained in our very psyche through literature, movies, and our very own upbringing;
In my own upbringing it was books. For example, in a book I much beloved as a child, The Bronze Bow, set in the time of Jesus, the narrative depicts a lot of sacrifice from Daniel bar Jamin for a number of different causes.
At the beginning, we learn that Daniel is an aspiring Blacksmith and is extremely talented. He has the capability to become a rather successful Blacksmith. But he gives all this up to look for revenge against the Roman Empire for the death of his father. In this quest, he sacrifices rather foolishly relationships with his mother and his sister and any attempt to find true friendship.
This quest is self-destroying. Eventually his mother is met with sickness and dies, and Daniel is forced to sacrifice his vengeance to care for his sister. But still this sacrifice is out of obligation and not out of love and is thus still invalid.
Daniel doesn't truly learn noble sacrifice until the end of the book when his every self is dedicated to the interests of others. All other sacrifices are purely selfish.
The answer to what makes a sacrifice truly noble is hinted at in that tale. Sacrifices are only truly sacrifices when they are directly for the benefit of others. The Bible states more directly.
"No greater love hath any man than this, that he give up his life for a friend."
And that is why the military is so special, and why we would celebrate this very occasion because in most instances, that is the mindset of a soldier. Sacrificing himself for the freedom and security of others.